In Focus: An update on the Red Sea

As of now, 354 vessels have diverted via the Cape of Good Hope, accounting for 80% of the vessels engaged in the Asia-Europe Trade.

The primary determinants in the market continue to be supply and demand, influencing carriers’ pricing strategies. Shippers, particularly those dealing with long term rates, face limitations tied to committed allocations based on historical performance.

There is currently a significant 25% reduction in capacity. Rerouting vessels via the Cape of Good Hope has increased transit times by 10-20 days, depending on the size of the vessels.

Equipment shortages are currently occurring in Asia, particularly in Northern China.

We recommend that you work with your freight forwarder closely to minimise disruption in your supply chain.



Central China to USA and Europe 

  • From SHA to Europe and the US, rates have steadily increased this week.
    • The market has become busy due to the shipment of e-commerce and bulk goods. 
  • From NGB to Europe and the USA, the market has become busier this week. 
    • We suggest booking space 4-5 days prior to the cargo ready date.

North China to USA and Europe:

  • From TSN to Europe and the US, rates remain at a low level for Korean Airlines to both destinations.
    • Space is available to both destinations this week. 
  • From PEK to Europe and the US, rates with most airlines remain at a lower level this week
    • Major services from PEK to Europe include: Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, Air China, KLM, Air France, Japan Airlines.
      • It is advised to book space 3-4 days ahead of the cargo ready date. 
    • Major services from PEK to the US include: Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Eva Air with rates remaining at a lower level.
      • It is advised to book space 5-6 days ahead of the cargo ready date. 
  • From TAO to Europe and the US,  space is available.
    • From TAO to the US, ETD is 3-4 days after booking. 
    • Spot rates are available for dense cargo.

South China to USA and Europe:

  • From CAN to Europe and the USA, rates remain the same but rates may increase over the upcoming  weekend and space may become tight. 
    • All shipments will need to be checked with the carrier for rates on a case-by-case basis.
  • From SZX to Europe and the US, the market is stable this week and rates have decreased to the US.
    • All shipments will need to be checked with the carrier for rates on a case-by-case basis.
  • From XMN to Europe and the US, the market remains the same.
    • Final rates depend on a case-by-case basis.


  • Here is the latest update on port activity in the US. 
    • The Ports of LA and Long Beach have 9 vessels waiting to berth,  with a 4-day wait time. The rail dwell time is currently at 7 days.
    • Oakland is experiencing a wait time of 3 days for 5 vessels waiting to berth.
    • On the US East Coast, New York/New Jersey has 5 vessels waiting with a 2-day dwell time, and a 3-day dwell time on rail heads.
    • Norfolk’s vessel bunching appears to be resolved, with only 2 vessels waiting to berth and a 1-day dwell time.
    • Savannah is currently facing a situation with 4 vessels waiting and a 2-day dwell time.
  • The National Retail Federation (NRF) have voiced concerns about a possible strike at US East Coast terminals. 
    • The NRF has urged the International Longshore Association (ILA) and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) to restart contract negotiations as soon as possible. 
    • The current labour contract between USMX and the union is set to expire on 30th September. Negotiations started last February but both parties did not come to an agreement. 
    • The three major points in the negotiations are pay for workers, work allocation and automation at ports. 
  • Vessels are currently idling at the Panama Canal due to historically low water levels, leading to restrictions on the number of vessels that can transit.
    • Under normal circumstances, the canal has the capacity to handle 36 vessels daily; however, this capacity has been reduced to 22 vessels per day, and it is anticipated to further decrease to 16 per day in February.
    • Unfortunately, there is no positive outlook for an improvement in the situation in the coming months.
    • In terms of rates, they are expected to remain elevated on the TransPacific due to the direct consequence of reduced capacity. This situation is likely to persist through the first quarter and into the second quarter.


  • As vessels from Asia reroute around the Cape of Good Hope, North European container ports may face a potential capacity crunch come early February. 
    • Several shipping loops from Asia to North Europe, departing their last load ports in Asia in late December, now display revised ETAs at initial North Europe discharge ports in early to mid-February.
    • Vessel ETAs have been pushed back with carriers vying for arrival slots at hub terminals.


  • According to the Road Haulage Association, it is estimated that NOx from HGVs has decreased by around 70% since 2013.
    • Just 19% of UK NOx emissions came from road transport in 2021 and less than 15% of that figure came from commercial vehicles.
    • This is largely attributed to the introduction of cleaner Euro VI trucks on UK roads over the last decade. 
    • Greater adoption of alternative fuel and battery-charged trucks could see even great reductions in the future.

European Bank Holidays

We anticipate a shortage of availability and the occurrence of delays around the bank holiday periods. Plan ahead and allow extra time for your products to be delivered.

Jan 24 – Romania

Feb 5 – Ireland (Eire)

Feb 8 – Slovenia

Feb 10 – Malta

Feb 12 – Luxembourg*

Feb 13 – Portugal*, Spain*

Feb 16 – Lithuania 

Feb 24 – Estonia

Feb 28 – Spain*


March 1 – Spain*

March 3 – Bulgaria

March 4 – Bulgaria

March 8 – Germany*

March 11 – Lithuania 

*Not in all regions

The route ahead

The information that is available in the Weekly Market Update comes from a variety of online sources, partners and our own teams. Click below to learn more about how Zencargo can help make your supply chain your competitive advantage.

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